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Frank Ferragine was 'born with dirt under his fingernails'

Simcoe County TV host urges folks to keep active by growing their own food
Gardener, TV host Frank Ferragine (Photo provided)

If you need help with growing the greenest gardens and lawns, and freshest produce, Frank Ferragine is your man.

If you need a laugh first thing in the morning – and to get up to speed on the weather which can help you grow those plants in the first place – Frank qualifies, too.

He is one of Simcoe County’s most recognizable exports. The 45-year-old co-host of City TV’s Breakfast Television, entrepreneur, and best-selling author, appears to be living proof of the dictum, “if you need something done, you give it to the busy person.”

And to those who wonder how Ferragine accomplishes it all, he tells BarrieToday, “I have no magic organizational skills, I just do it. After writing four books in five years, I feel I'm good at being very productive.

“P.S., in my spare time I coach a PeeWee AE hockey team!”

Whew, one is tempted to conclude! As for his love of and facility for things that grow, well, Frank admits he comes by both honestly.

“I was born with dirt under my (fingernails). True story: my first childhood home was attached to a greenhouse in Bradford. I worked in the fields of the Holland Marsh and Cookstown Marsh. I joke that I'm a product of childhood labour but I had the best childhood ever.”

Ferragine's family runs Bradford Greenhouses and is a director of the annual Canada Blooms flower show. He has also been host at the Alliston Garden Tour, What's New in Horticulture, and the radio program Get Growing on B-101 FM here in Barrie.

His shift on CITY dictates an up-and-at-‘em-time most would consider ungodly, but given there’s a commute down the 400 to the “Big Smoke”, Frank doesn’t think it’s a bad thing when you consider the alternative.

“Leaving (the house) before 4 a.m. helps with traffic and lineups at the coffee shop but I listen to podcasts. Seriously, if I didn't work a morning show I would have to live in Toronto, (where) traffic is just too crazy.”

What’s more, Frank has help from four friends in low places. 

“I have a great set of winter tires from my friends at Georgian Chevrolet!”

Nowadays, we’re accustomed to thinking of news reporters as buttoned-down, straight-faced journalism trained to behave as robots, with emotions traveling a straight, horizontal line. Frank used a family tragedy to help others who may have been in the same boat, and it became what he calls his most memorable story.

“In 2008, I did a story on my brother's 10th anniversary of passing from cancer. I followed up with his doctors. I found out about progress on Ewings sarcoma and adolescent cancers and interviewed young adults going thru the same battle my brother Tony did.”  

If Frank Ferragine has any tips to share with this generation about how to be more productive with their time, it’s to follow his example.  

“Grow your own food! I wrote Food to Grow to motivate people to garden! Grow an herb, tomato plant, or some peppers. Once you do, you will be hooked for life!”

This married father of two boys has shown thousands of gardeners throughout Southern Ontario how to beautify their lives and how to live those lives positively – and stay that way.

“My mantra I live by is: ‘If you are green, you are growing, if you are ripe you will rot.' (So) always keep learning! I first read this in Grinding it Out – The Making of McDonald’s, the Ray Kroc story.”

Viewers can catch Frank and his cohorts on Breakfast Television from 5:30 to 9 a.m. weekdays on CITY TV